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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    January 15, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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can the republican party just say yes? it is tuesday, 15th, and this is "now." joining me today huffington post, washington bureau chief ryan grim, "new york times" columnist and co-host of cnbc's squawk box andrew ross sorkin, msnbc contributor and queen bejoy reid, and co-host of msnbc's "the cycle" steve. will the gop once again play the role of dr. no? this version of the action-packed thriller would not involve threatening the launch of a u.s. spaceship wan atomic powered radio beam. instead, the victim would be the united states economy and the potentially disastrous impact of failing to raise the debt
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ceiling brsh according to speaker boehner, the ends justify the means. in a statement yesterday, boehner asserted the consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so, too, are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved. it was a response to this stern warning from the president on monday. >> they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the american economy. the financial well being of the american people is not leveraged to be used. >> if the tenor of the president's last press conference of his first term is any indication about what he expects in his second term, prepare for a bond-style showdown as the government barrels towards its borrowing limit. that said, there might exist a solution that would allow congress to do what it does best, which is to say nothing at all, and still save the economy. this do nothing approach was floated by senate minority leader mitch mcconnell in 2011, and president obama gave it a hat tip yesterday. >> they want to put the
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responsibility on me to raise the debt ceiling, i'm happy to take it. mitch mcconnell, the republican leader in the senate, had a proposal like that last year, and i'm happy to accept it. >> how does it work? step one. president asks congress to raise the debt ceiling when it's within $100 billion. step two, the congress rejects that request and sends a joint resolution of disapproval back to the white house. step three, obama vetoes the resolution of disapproval. step four, congress does nothing. as long as the house and senate wait 15 days before addressing the white house veto, then the president gets his original wish and the debt ceiling automatically goes up. in other words, a redo of the fiscal cliff threatening the u.s. economy. give extremism and allow congress to basically do anything. welcome to washington. andrew, is this -- is this the way it goes now? >> i'm depressing. it is depressing are but it's also maybe the viable path
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forward. in terms of harm done to the u.s. economy sshgs that the best solution? >> i cannot get behind that. by the way, count get behind the platinum coin. we could draw something on a little piece of paper, and they could hand it to me. i can't get behind any of that. ultimately, we have to actually figure this out. the president has to figure it out. congress has to figure it out, and that's going to be the end of it. i have to think we're wasting our time. not just you us talking about it, but the fact that we're having these conversation bz what kind of wack-a-do arrangement we can create so everyone can pretend everything is okay. >> isn't it a result of a congress that seems to have dug in its heels over a matter that was really a parliamentary procedure more than anything else? >> i don't disagree with you, but i do think there is a real issue in this country about the level of debt. i don't necessarily think this is the time to use that leverage. having said that, it's not clear to me that the president has come to the table and said i actually want to actually have a real grand bargain either. it's -- to me this is -- the
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pock is in everybody's house. >> in terms of the fights, and there are three of them brewing, right? there's this one over the debt ceiling. there's a continuing resolution to actually fund the government. then there's sequestration. yesterday politico reporting that house gop members are gearing up for a fight over the debt ceiling, but now you have people like newt gingrich, choice of reason in the wilderness. let's play the sound. he is advocating for them not to fight over this. >> it's a threat they can't sustain. no one is going to default. no one is going to allow the united states to not pay its bills. they have much better news to fight over spending. they have a continuing resolution that funds government, which comes up at the end of march, and they have this sequester that automatically cuts spending. >> gingrich isn't saying lay down your arms, but he is saying there are better battles ahead. >> he is saying you're going to lose this debt fight because --
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he has said previously that the entire global world of finance is going to come into washington the week before the debt ceiling is hit and they're going to pressure you to cave. i actually disagree with andrew here. i think that the scenario that mcconnell laid out in that obama is willing to take is a much smarter approach because as of now, raising the debt ceiling, the responsibility for it is diffuse and spread across congress so they can pass blame and pass responsibility around so they might actually not do it. whereas, if the main responsibility is on the president, then whatever party that president is in, he is always going to do it. it would still allow the congress, if they desperately wanted the country to default, by a two-thirds vote, they could override the veto, and they could push the country into default. it still allows him to blow everything up if they are really passionate about it. it takes this off the table, and it does it in a much more rationale way. >> we've learned that as the fiscal cliff showed us, this is all about giving cover to the
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more raucus members of your caucus, right? this allows john boehner to sort of move forward, provide a spoke smoke screen for people that don't want to raise the debt ceiling and get on without tanking the u.s. economy, joy. >> yeah, absolutely. i think that is the most important thing. i'm with ryan on this. you always have to provide political cover. the republicans need to be able to run against barack obama as the tax and spend liberal who keeps plunging us into debt. this would allow them to do that and still not blow up the economy. i mean, the only thing here that we know for certain is that they are going to raise the debt limit. they're going to do it. they know it. we know it. it's just a matter of how messy it's going to be before that. the way that you know republicans many my opinion are not serious, where is their list of things? if spending is such a horrible thing and we have a spending problem, not a debt problem, show us your list. what is it you would like to cut? let's see it. the last time they showed it to us, it was the ryan plan to destroy medicare and turn it into a voucher, and then they ran away from that during the presidential campaign when they should have been showing it off.
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if they're so into cutting the deficit and they think spend issing the problem, show it off. let's see what you got. they don't want to do it. >> what i don't understand about this is why if you believe that ultimately they're going to have to cave, why don't we just let them cave? why do we need to create all of these other sort of -- as i said wack-a-do arrangements so this can happen? >> it's all leverage, right? if the sequester, that deal is not great for the republicans or that battle is not great for them because that disproportionately hurts republican industries, which is to say the defense industry, which is not to say that there aren't plenty of democrats whose bread is not being buttered by defense contractors, but if you look down at the breakdown of sequester cuts, defense gets hit with $55 billion in cuts, but they are much more severe, and as dave wood from the huffington post has said, it's like taking a meat clever to the defense industry. the nondefense cuts, 55 billion, same amount, but social security, retirement, veterans medicaid, snap, food stamps and jobless benefits are all exempt, steve. >> i think there's a sort of story here now that's been two
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years in the making where at some point this is going to have to come to a head. at some point president obama is going to have to call the bluff of the republicans. there were battles over continuing resolutions to fund the government in 2011. there was a summer of 2011 with the debt ceiling. there was the super committee. they were setting up the fiscal cliff. now we've got continuing resolution in march. now we've got the sequester, march 1st. now we've got debt ceiling all over again. one of these points -- i thought the ideal time for obama to do this would have been the fiscal cliff because i thought that was the softest -- none of these deadlines are pretty, but that was the softest deadline you could possibly have. clearly public opinion was going to be on obama's side if we went over there. maybe he could have gotten -- he would have had more leverage if he got over that date, but i think the good news to the extent there's good news here is you are hearing republican voices. you play gingrich, but i'm hearing republicans in the house right now who are talking more in terms of making the continuing resolution, funding the government, making that the point where they make their stand on spending cuts and not the debt ceiling, so if it's the
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debt ceiling and the consequence is default, it's catastrophic. it's across the board. if it's the continuing resolution and the deposit shuts down for a few days. s we've been down that road before. clinton and gingrich can certainly attest to that. i think that the lesson is, if you remember back to the clinton and gingrich showdown in 1995 and early 1996, the republican party emerged from that changed a little bit. the republican party then in the first part of 1995 was just like the republican party. total hell bent on confrontation with president clinton. when they lost "lost" the shutdown of 1995 and 1996 they emerged -- yes, they still impeached bill clinton, but they were a slightly more reasonable party in terms of reaching compromises on other issues with clinton from that point forward. >> let me ask you. if they're just threatening a downgrade, again, what is your view on how bad that is for the u.s. economy? ? i mean, there are lots of perilous things that will kick into place. >> in the short-term, sadly, perversely not so bad. >> right. >> i don't think it's going to have a huge impact on --
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short-term. the question is it's a long-term thing, and that's two, three, four, five, ten years out, and that's what you are fighting against. yeah, short-term, i don't think anyone will care. >> nobody goes to fish to decide -- >> why do they rate treasuries? go, fitch. go away, s&p. we know what the interest rates are. that's how people think of debt. >> what we are capable of, and are we -- >> pa what our standing should be and what our rating should be. there's no question. i don't think in the short-term we have any -- and, sadly, that gives no cover to anybody in washington on this issue. >> it does not. well, we will certainly be discussing this in the days ahead. after the break, one of the most glaring examples of what colin powell calls the gop's identity problem is its stance on immigration. will the party come together on reform, or forfeit a chance at course correction? we will ask jose diaz when he joins us next. ♪ you know my heart burns for you... ♪
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president obama will forge ahead with his plan to reform the nation's immigration system. a process that he may outline in his state of the union address next month. the morning times reports that the president will push for one single comprehensive bill that would include a pathway for citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented workers. behind the scenes the white house has been working on the contours of a bill that is expected to be rolled out in march with the senate vote planned for august. speaking to the "new york times", senator chuck schumer vowed action on the issue. this is so important now to both parties that neither fiscal matters more guns will get in the way.
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as for the bill itself, the pathway to citizenship would come with a payment of fines and back taxes. the bill would also include a nationwide legal verification system for all newly hired workers. additional visas for highly skilled immigrants and a guest worker program. top senate democrat harry reid sounded optimistic about its passage. >> tentatively on a path to citizenship which has been a stumbling block. we need to promote bipartisan bills quicker than you think. >> you are confident this will amount to something substantial? >> we'll do something significant. >> then again, there's always the lower chamber. according to texas congressman lamar smith, any bill with a pathway to citizenship will have a hard time passing. phil, the georgia republican who weighed in so very eloquently on todd aken's rape comments this weekend, told the "new york times" he remains opposed to amnesty of any kind. joining us now is telemundo jose
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diaz. it is always a good day when you are on this program, my friend. great to see you. >> thank you so much. thank you so much. >> jose, let me ask you -- >> if they think that this is an issue that's going to go away, they're wrong. >> let me ask you, jose. in terms -- we've been talking ad naseum about skisms within the g.o.p. obama is preparing to prioritize immigration reform on his second term agenda, a move that would do as much to divide the gop as it would to score points among hispanic voters. it would threaten for engulf the gop with in a heated internal debate that would make the fiscal argument seem like child's play. do you think that's true? >> yeah. it's a debate that if one side wins could marginalize that party for generations to come because the fact is that when you see that 71% of almost 12 million voters the last elections, voted for one political party, and that group
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that voted 71% for one political party, is the fastest growing group in the country. already 50.5 million strong. 18 years of age equals voting age. if they think they can ignore the concerns of a large portion of this country or simply use words like am midwesty, i can't even deal with talking about it, then they'll got something coming. they may become the minority party for generations to come, and i'm not sure that any politician that sits down worrying about their future really thinks they want to be a part of a party that has no shot at national office because of something they could today choose not to do. >> you know, bringing to us our panel many new york here. steve, one of the things -- frank luntz had an op ed in the washington post with lots of tips, if you will, for the republican party. one of the things he says is you can't tell people to
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self-deport. they are not asking for open borders or blanket amnesty. they just don't want to be regard as criminals. because of often repeated phrases like illegals hispanic voters don't think republicans like or respect them. does the gop have the discipline -- because i think that's what is required at this point -- to not use that phraseology in this debate as it's sort of put before them? >> at this point they don't because there are sort of two parallel americas right now politically speaking. there's the america that re-elected obama by five million votes that's growing, that's diversifying. it's the coalition of the descendent. then there's the america that just gave us the majority of house republicans, and that america -- those districts are not diversifying like the rest of the country, so that kind of language, the language that frank luntz is warning against actually still sells very well and insulates the republican members in those districts from the threat of a primary challenge, and i think that the long-term problem for republicans is this. if you think of the democrats -- if you think of the republicans and the black vote circa the mid
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1960s, we forget the republican party was the home of the black vote for almost a century after the civil war, and what happened was they turned -- they embraced the southern back lack to civil rights, and then it's been 80% plus. the republicans or the latino vote are not yet at that point. it was just eight years ago that george w. bush got 44% of the latino vote, but if they keep this up much longer, they are in serious threat of the same thing happening with latino vote that happened with the black vote. >> you have to remember, it happened really fast. nixon got 40% of the black vote. by the time carter came along, you had a big dent in that black vote for the democratic party. i think something jose said is really important. not only are the democrats really now a part of the minority. they're also the younger party, the you youth party. you are talking about 50,000 latinos turning 18 every month. the democratic party is practically at the birthday party registering them to be democrats. the voter registration numbers in florida alone, as i'm sure they know very well, they are
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accelerating the registration of latino democrats and latino independents. the republican party has a tiny, tiny number and percentage of those new voters, so being the younger party, democrats also have the vocabulary to speak to these voters. they're not using terms like illegals. they know how to relate to these voters. republicans, because they are older, much older, they have a sort of -- i would say -- backward maybe way of dealing with these folks. they're going to have a problem. >> colin powell was on "meet the press" making some incredibly, i thought, important observations about his own party and how intolerant it has been and how it is not welcoming to minorities, and the backlash has been quick and severe. i guess one of the problems is there seems to be people, moderate ralts within the party, that understand the straits the gop is in, but any progress they may make on that front in terms of appealing to more minorities, pushing forward policy that is more tolerant of minorities or undocumented workers, is quashed by the extreme elements in the
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party. we now -- in that party. marco rubio is out there saying he wants a comprehensive immigration reform. paul ryan, no dummy on this issue, having run as mitt romney's running mate, is coming out in support of the rubio plan. will they be able to get the party extremists to embrace what they're proposing, whatever that is? >> that's such a great question. i think -- i have yet to see really marco rubio's proposal in writing. he has been talking about some concepts, whether, you know, he supports some aspects of immigration reform, but i think i would rather wait until he has something in writing, which i have yet to see. there is some problem. for example, in the house los angeles times has been reporting on this. we at telemundo report on it quite frequently. there is a small group of democrats and republicans working together to try and reach some bipartisan agreement on comprehensive immigration reform. let's remember that the 11 million people that are here illegally aren't just latinos.
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there are some aryan blonde, blue-eyed people that are undocumented. it's not just a latino issue, my friend. they're not just young. they're working on it. i think that the behind the scenes slow work that this group has been carrying on for years now and that every time there's a new congress they have to see who they can work with allies. apparently it includes some members of the republican party that would be considered extreme right and, yet, are willing to look at the possibility of some immigration reform that would encompass everyone. let's remember that amnesty means i give you something for nothing. how about if 11 million people who have been working here who have children and grandchildren in many cases, are willing to pay fines and do whatever hoops they need to be jumping through be on some form of probation for years, but at the end they're put at the end -- the back of the line for legal papers, and,
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you know what, it's all doable, but i think both sides really need to talk and stop using these incindiary words. >> one of the groups that's much aligned with the democrats, their positions on immigration reform, is business. i mean, they understand that this is an imperative. we have got to solve this problem. >> business is looking at it differently than the conversation we're having thus far, which is business is looking for highly skilled, talented workers that they claim they can't bring in here so easily now. it's not to help the people who are already here. it's not about amnesty. it's not about anything else. this is about stapling -- stapling the green card to the diplo diploma. it's a slightly different argument. >> skilled worker visas, that's sort of the cherry on top that entices. even that has been controversial. we increase the number of highly
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skilled worker visas, and we're decreasing -- >> in the republican party that's a huge issue. actually on both sides. that is one piece where you wouldn't see them in disagreement, except in the business community. >> ryan -- >> andrew. >> go ahead, jose. go ahead. >> no. i was just going to say it's not only highly skilled workers in business they're looking for. they're also looking for the people that will come in august in arizona to pick peppers at 110 degrees outside, and those jobs are required, and, you know what, not a lot of people are willing to take those jobs. >> and they want the tomato pickers for the same reason they want the high skilled workers. it's to keep wages down. it's not that they can't find tomato workers. it's that they can't find tomato workers at the low pay. they can't find engineers at the salary they want to 35i. they want to bring many people overseas that they can pay much lower salaries. >> google has a much more powerful influential lobby in washington than the tomato growers union or whoever is
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doing this. >> not -- there's also the labor question at large. i mean, there are unions that are going to have an issue with certain forms of immigration reform too. this is the problem that is largely the intra-party sort of skisms so far, but certainly will approach problems on the left as well. did you want to weigh in on that? >> i just wanted to say you are so right. i'll tell you this. the same way i say that i don't think politicians in the republican party want to think that they want to become the minority party for generations to come, i think the labor unions who maybe opposed any immigration reform because it would bring in low-skilled workers on a temporary work visa and they're against that. i don't think they want to also be known as the group that was against giving 11 million people the opportunity to get in the back of the line to wait their turn to become legal residents and contribute to this country. you know, both sides have an
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achilles tendon. it's one of those achilles tender and which can be pieced up muff to get this thing through. >> i just learned something about human physiology and labor disputes. telemundo jose diaz on a slight delay for us in miami. so quick-witted, so fast with the thoughts. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> and joye reid, the queen bee is leaving. we're going downhill from here. thank you, as always. coming up, wendy's, taco bell, and papa johns. what do they all have in common besides a certain late night appeal? a desire to cut back on health care benefits for their employees. we will examine the lesser known mandate in the affordable care act just ahead. so if you have a flat tire, dead battery, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7.
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a growing list of businesses are cutting hours in order to avoid paying for federally mandated employee health care. as if the low wage labor landscape was not big enough. we will discuss health care realities next on "now." what are you doing? nothing.
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now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. but, dad, you've got... [ voice of dennis ] allstate. with accident forgiveness, they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. [ voice of dennis ] indeed. are you in good hands? while much of the discussion last year over president obama's health care law focused on the individual mandate, less attention was given to the employer mandate and how it affects small businesses and low wage workers? some wendy's and taco bell franchises are now cutting back workers' hours in order to avoid having to provide health coverage. a requirement of the health care law that goes into effect next year. the law will require businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to offer health care or pay a $2,000 fine for not
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doing so. >> the parent company for olive garden and red lobster has also begun hiring more part-time workers, according to the "new york times". restaurants and hotels are among the industries likely to be squeezed the hardest by the law because they are low-wage industries that do not offer coverage to most of their workers. however, a study by the urban institute said complaints of many business owners were unfounded. while businesses with 100 to 1,000 employees may see cost increases, large businesses were unlikely to be affected, and the affordable care act, in many cases actually reduces costs for many small businesses through tax credits. joining us now from washington is business and economics correspondent for slate, the always brilliant matthew eglasius. thank you for joining us.
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sthoo thank you for having me. >> in terms of the affordable care act, the goal was to get more americans insured. this seems to be a residual -- i don't know if it's a problem. is it a trend? how much -- how concerned should we be that low-wage workers already not exactly getting the best end of the stick, if you will, in the american economy, are getting further harmed by employers who now try to make them part-time workers to avoid having to cover their health insurance costs? >> i mean, there's a trend towards sort of trying to reclassify people as part-time workers to avoid paying benefits, and one of the ideas of this provision of the law was to try to penalize employers who don't give health benefits to their workers. unfortunately, because of the way it's drafted, they said if we're calculating do you have over 50 employees, you can't just replace 50 full-time workers with 100 part-time workers. they do something called a full-time ekwifl ens calculation. then when the actual fine is levied, it's $2,000 per full-time worker, so it's created this huge incentive for
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employers to cut people below the 30 hours threshold. you are seeing it in fast food chains. universities are looking to do it with their ad junct instructors. there's a clear financial incentive for companies to rejigger and put people's hours down. >> sort of what is -- is there a business interest in actually providing health care coverage? i'll draw your attention to the usa today editorial board. yes, the employer mandate will add to some companies' costs of doing business, and those costs no doubt will be passed along to customers. papa john said the price of pizza could increase. is that such a terrible price to pay to insure that some of the nation's hardest working, lowest paid employees will get health coverage they've never had? >> it's not a horrible price to pay. it's 14 cents. it's 14 cents. >> and will consumers say, okay, let's -- >> consumers will say fine, because, guess what, you know what, it's a level playing field. everybody is playing from the same place. by the way, distinction between service industry, like papa
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johns, and manufacturing. if you are a manufacturing a car, and you think you are competing against or electronics and you are competing against some other country where they're paying their people next to nothing, that's a different story. the kind of thing we're talking about here is you can't -- there's -- you're not going to papa johns in china to get your pizza, right? >> or if you are, you are very wealthy, incredibly wealthy. >> and the 14 cents is not a problem. >> because the hospitality industry is under a different met trick -- >> it's pathetic to hear these ceos scream about this particular sector. >> i, of course -- we talk a lot about income inequality on this show, ryan, and this sort of drew our attention back to the strug of the american worker. steve greenhouse in the "new york times" had a great analysis of what has happened to incomes and wages in this country. from 1973 to 2011 worker productivity grew 80%, while the median hourly compensation after inflation grew by just one-eighth that amount, and since 2000, productivity has
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risen 23% while real hourly pay has essentially stagnated. >> yeah, that's right. and that's where this extreme inequality comes from, and the inequality pushes all the power to the top, so they're going to continue to use that power to keep the poorest poor. now, the question would be does this harm them in competition getting workers, because it's much more of a pain to schedule a whole bunch of people for 14 hours a week than it is to have a good worker come in from 40 hours a week, and so the good workers are then going to gravitate towards places that are going to hire them at 40 hours a week, and the others will have transient xwaez. they're in the service industry. that's not going to necessarily benefit them. >> where is the sort of american worker in this debate in terms of having enough of a voice to argue on his or her behalf? >> well, you know, there's a much weaker worker voice, both
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because we've seen a real decline of level of immunization, and because of unemployment rate is so high. one of the main reasons that the profit share of the economy has grown so noticeably large over the past few years is we've maintained this very high unemployment rate. it's difficult from people to bargain from better wages and better working conditions. i think ryan is right. you know, as we return to full employment, it's going to be very difficult for employers to get away with these kind of games. workers don't like to be mistreated, and people are going to have some say in where they work. as long as unemployment stays around 8% as it's been for a long time now, it's very easy for bosses to sort of get over on people and if the law isn't air tight, they're going to find ways to sort of push those costs down to their lowest paid employees. >> ironically, this is happening against the backdrop of corporate profits being as high as they have been in quite some time. in greenhouse's piece he writes "overall employee compensation,
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including health and retirement benefits has also slipped badly falling to its slowest share of national income in more than 50 years while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share over that same period." we talk about where we are in terms of priorities here. >> you know, the other thing is i think this is we're at such an early stage here in terms of understanding what the affordable care act is and what it's going to be five, 15, 125, 20 years if now. we got through an election where we decided, okay, we're going to have this thing for a while. now we're in sort of this phase, another question that needs to be raised is how many of these states are going to actually put the -- are actually going to do the medicaid expansion? how many states are going to put these health care exchanges into effect? we had some progress. susan aa martinez, a republican out in new mexico -- >> jan brewer out in arizona saying she's going to do it too. this might be the sort of thing where you are hearing, you know, this is sort of the residual from the ceos, from the republican governors. you know, we're going to fight this tooth and nail.
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maybe a year, maybe two years from now we stop hearing that and this becomes more stable. >> residual qatarwalling, andrew. is it residual katerwalling. >> i like that you were saying for shame, corporate ceos. >> it's ridiculous. can i make one comment? before you got on to this, we did talk briefly about the profits and the inequality issue, and there's one thing we can't get away from, which is technology. >> right. that's the productivity thing. the productivity doesn't necessarily mean -- >> but you saw american express, champl, get close to 5,000 people this week, and why? because, guess what, all of us are not calling the american express number anymore to get our travel. we're doing it on-line. so we all think technology is a great thing, but, guess what, technology is not always a great thing when it comes to jobs, and that's not going to be fixed by technology. >> when it's done, a system where all the profits can go to the top. a sane society would say, well, everybody benefits by a more productive society, but that's not the society that we have. >> it is. that is part of his story, which
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i encourage everybody to read "the "new york times"." the fact that robots are -- it's not a good thing to the american worker. they tried to replace me as a robot, but i have stood firm, everyone. matthew, sorry we have to cut it off there. we hope to have you back sometime very, very soon. thanks for joining us. >> coming up, lance armstrong is just the latest elite athlete offering a maya kulpa for his misdeeds. so is ryan grim. we'll look at the armstrong confession and another case of fallen hero syndrome just ahead. i didn't think it was anything. i had pain in my abdomen... it just wouldn't go away. i was spotting, but i had already gone through menopause. these symptoms may be nothing... but they could be early warning signs of a gynecologic cancer, such as cervical, ovarian, or uterine cancer. feeling bloated for no reason. that's what i remember. seeing my doctor probably saved my life. warning signs are not the same for everyone. if you think something's wrong... see your doctor. ask about gynecologic cancer.
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and get the inside knowledge.
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we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much. i appreciate it. i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money? if your bank takes more money than a stranger, you need an ally. ally bank. your money needs an ally. it is a time-tested strategy. deny, deny, deny until you sit down with oprah win pri. we'll sort through lance's lies with an armstrong expert coming up next. look what mommy is having.
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>> have i never doped. i've said it for seven years. it doesn't help. >> i came out of a life-threatening disease. oifs my death bed. you think i'm going to come back into the sport and say, okay, doctor, give me everything you've got. i just want to be fag. no way. >> how many times do i have to say it? >> i just want to make sure your testimony is clear. >> it can't be any clearer than i have never taken drugs. it could never happen. how clear is that? >> seven tour de france titles and a decade of lies. nbc news has confirmed lance armstrong admitted to using performance enhancing drugs in an interview to air this thursday with oprah winfrey. this morning she described why armstrong decided to come clean. >> he was just ready. i think the velocity of everything that's come at him m past several months and particularly in the past several weeks, he was just ready.
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>> there is considerable speculation regarding armstrong's motivation and what he gets out of the admission. before the interview, the cyclist reportedly gave an emotional apology to his cancer nonprofit livestrong saying he is "sorry for the stress he caused them," but it could be a sign that is he ready to begin competing again, possibly in triathlons, his sport of choice after the united states anti-doping agency, the usada stripped armstrong of his titles last october and slapped him with a lifetime ban from cycling. another potential factor? armstrong is being sued for fraud and could be forced to repay tens of millions of dollars to his sponsor, the u.s. post office. the u.s. justice department is considering joining that lawsuit. regardless, appealing to the usada for leanency may be a hard sell. the head of the organization said last week he received anonymous threats during his investigation into armstrong's doping. >> the worst was probably putting a bullet in my head. >> did you take that seriously?
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>> absolutely. turned it over to the fbi to investigate it. that's what they're doing. >> armstrong may have one bargaining chip left. exposing the broader culture of doping in hopes of a better deal. joining us now is ceo of mobile sports network selena roberts. you have -- you are the expert on all things armstrong and i will quote you to you something you have offered. i don't really think, you wrote, there's my politician, celebrity, or athlete who has really put together the machinery to suppress reporting about them like lance armstrong. you say that armstrong has tried to actually smear you in your reporting about him. tell us about the armstrong industrial complex suppressing information about juicing? >> it all begins with armstrong as the head bully, and everything sort of springs from that. i mean, he basically comes across and he makes you feel as if you are assaulting an american hero, and the machinery around that is correct the lawyers that you have to deal with whenever you ask a
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question, the p.r. people that will read stuff about what you are looking at with & what you are doing, all of that is really wound around him. when you deal with that, you deal with, as was said, the threats that come with that. the threats can be your job. it could be a letter from his lawyers to your boss saying that you're not doing your job right, that you are sinister and you are out for no good. those kind of things you think wouldn't fly apparently flew for 15 years because that's what anyone who would confront him with a question was turned into an accuser, and that's what you dealt with for the last 15 years. >> are you surprised by this? i mean, given the lengths that he went to to protect himself, we played that tape at the beginning. the ob stin ens, the aggression, the scolding tenor that he took with the american public or the suggestion that he was doping, and then it turns out that he was, and not only was he juicing, he was doing so in a big way. he is trafficking -- accused of trafficking doping substances, administering it, getting other
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people to get in on this with him. i mean, the brazen is not a sufficient word for the behavior, but it's the only one that comes to mind. >> well, what's even more sick than that is how he protected himself against the scorn. it was to raise the cancer shield, was to always invoke livestrong as the tough one. if you come after me, you must be pro-cancer. he was using cancer as a weapon against you if you tried to tease him apart from livestrong and deal with him as armstrong. you couldn't. he would make sure that that was one shield all together that you were continually fighting to get through. >> andrew, is there -- is there a hope that lance armstrong's public image would be emeliurated and a maya kulpa? >> i don't see how the image gets better. maybe he takes down the whole system maybe five, ten years from now, so i'm going to give
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him some credit for that, but i don't understand why anybody would make a deal with him. that's what i cannot figure out for the life of me, and i don't think this is tiger woods. i don't think this is -- i don't think there's a comparable situation where you look at somebody who has had a problem with this and you think, wow, they're going to be able to go again in the future. i don't understand why he still wants to be in sports and why he thinks there will be fans that will support him. >> he has tens of millions of dollars in debt. perhaps that's one of the animating factors in all this, ryan, but this is to andrew's point different than, say, pete rose or darryl strawberry. a lot of a lot of skankzs in sports these days, but this does seem to be on a different letter. >> the only way i think you can plausibly defend him is to say everybody is doing where t. >> if he wasn't screaming from the roof tops for the past decade and making people like selena's life miserable. please. >> there's an industry misery in dealing with lance.
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i think that he wasn't just like everybody else because he took it to another level and said if you are not like me, i will ruin you. >> right. >> i will fire you from my team. i will -- if you suggest anything about me, like greg lamond did, i will ruin your bike business. i will take you out. that's sobero pathic. that's a different bar than somebody cheating to get ahead. what he is doing now is equally sociopathic. he is coming back in and trying to get this public forum again. he is trying to come and make this a market for himself once again. not just to compete, but then to one day run a triathlon series. that's the money. >> what it does, actually, steve, is leave the top spot, top cycling spot open, which is good news for you, brother. >> yeah. i get those training wheels off the bike and let's -- >> no more tricycle days. >> i'm one of the most gullible people in the country because it wasn't until the last few months that i really looked around and said, yeah, he probably -- he probably did this.
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there's an enompls amount -- i took an enormous amount of pride as an american who watches him win these things year after year and say, you know, yeah, all these europeans are doing it too, and the fact that the stage four cancer survival i think made you not want to believe that it was, but the worst is true. >> from american hero to american sociopath. selena, thank you so much for joining us. thanks to the rest of the panel. of course, that is all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at moon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i'm joined by ezra cline, contain finishy, and ezra corn. andrea mitchell reports is coming up next. ♪ this is amazing, how did you find us? i thought we might be related, so i had a fiber analysis done and sure enough, we're family. but you're not even shredded. you're...crunchy?! that happens sometimes. and you help keep people full with whole grain fiber? just like you guys. [ female announcer ] they're different, but the same. new frosted mini-wheats crunch. a tasty square packed with a crunch... [ crunch! ]
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